Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 24 meeting recap | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 24 meeting recap

Janelle O'Dea

— At the weekly Moffat County commissioners meeting, developments with the Shadow Mountain project and tax abatements with Trapper and ColoWyo coal mines were the main topics of discussion.

Chairman John Kinkaid was absent because he was meeting with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colorado, and his staff in Washington D.C. as a part of the National Association of Counties legislative conference.

Moffat County Assessor Chuck Cobb approached commissioners with a few resolutions from his office.

The resolutions are "something that happens from time to time and we don't like to come to you with (them)," Cobb said. He was referencing tax abatements for tax years 2012 and 2013 from Trapper and ColoWyo coal mines.

The mines found out, through their own internal audit processes, that Moffat County taxed them for washed coal when the mines should not have been taxed for this coal. Many other Colorado mines use a washing process for their coal that ColoWyo and Trapper do not use.

The returned funds to the coal mines come from a $3 per ton difference in assessing washed and unwashed coal.

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"It's just one of those things that slipped through the cracks on both parties," Cobb said.

The money will be returned to the mines, Cobb said, and Moffat County will have the chance to recover it through the abatement mill levy in the next couple of years. The abatement mill levy is already set and paid by taxpayers each year because the assessor's office has to pay back some tax abatements every year.

Some of the abatements are as low as $5, Cobb said, and the Moffat County Commissioners must approve any abatement that exceeds $10,000.

Trapper's abatement totaled $75,626.96 for both years and ColoWyo's was $30,515.65 for both years. Altogether, the county will return $106,142.61 to both coal mines.

"I think it has been going on more than the last two years, but they can only audit for the last two years," Cobb said.

Before Cobb explained the abatements to commissioners, he gave them some good financial news. Colorado Park and Wildlife provides an assistance grant to Moffat County each year. The grant is meant to pay back taxes the county would have received if CPW did not take 14,168 acres out of Moffat County's taxable land.

The grant totals $5,393.15. The grant serves as a "thank you for allowing (CPW) to take all that property out of taxation," Cobb said.

After Cobb's tax talk, Roy Tipton, director of Moffat County Development Services, conducted a public hearing for the project and presented a statement of assessment, Commissioner Chuck Grobe announced the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission will have its summer retreat in Craig from June 17 to June 19.

Grobe said he's excited to bring the group to Craig because many of them have never visited before.

The commissioners and Tipton then opened the public hearing on the Shadow Mountain Village improvement project. One Shadow Mountain resident was present and did not have any comments during the public hearing.

Originally, residents were supposed to pay $19.47 per month on top of their water and sewer bills each month for the local improvement district. Tipton said through environmental assessments he was able to secure debt forgiveness on the loan from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. Residents will pay $9.09 per month on top of water and sewer bills, $10.38 less than planned.

Tipton said when the opportunity for debt forgiveness came up, he agreed to the do the environmental assessments because he knew the effect it would have on residents.

"It does right by the homeowners," Tipton said.

Commissioner Frank Moe and Grobe approved resolutions accepting the statement of expense, statement of assessment and a resolution authorizing the execution and issuance of a government agency bond to the Colorado Water Resource and Power Development Authority 2-0.

Dan Davidson gave commissioners some good news. Davidson presented an oil and gas lease that will benefit the Museum of Northwest Colorado and discussed obtaining a grant through the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado for a World War II memorial. The county can receive up to $10,000 for this grant and the city of Craig can also apply for up to $10,000 to help with the project.

The commissioners approved both the oil and gas lease and the request for the grant 2-0.

To end the meeting, Manager of the Road and Bridge Department Linda DeRose approached the county commissioners with a request to eliminate landfill vouchers. The department gives out about 1,000 vouchers per year.

"Not everyone is taking advantage of them, but there are some that abuse it," DeRose said.

The commissioners voted to eliminate the landfill voucher program altogether 2-0.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

Other action items approved by commissioners 2-0:

Moffat County Commission Feb. 17 meeting minutes

Resolution for payment of payroll warrants: 2015-21 and 2015-22

Resolutions for transfer of payment of warrants: 2015-23

Contract for healthcare services at the Moffat County detention facilities

Moffat County Department of Social Services custodial contract extension

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